What Can India Learn From China?

China is the largest, and probably the smartest neighboring country of India. Besides being a neighboring country, China is also the largest competitor of India in every aspect of development. While India stays ahead of China in sectors like Space Technology, it is a fact that India can learn a lot of good things from China. This article attempts to capture some points that India can possibly learn from China.

The diplomatic and the international relationship angle:

For one, China is adept in conducting the international relationships with its neighboring countries with an authority that is far better than India. A typical stratagem of China happens to be a confinement of the latitude of their admissible answers, in case of which the other end has to take an extra effort to make room for the bloated demands of China. This action inevitably portrays China’s compromising attitude but the reality remains that, it had given in very little.

An ideal example would be the recent Chinese incursions into our country. The Chinese proved that, they are the true descendants of Sun Tzu in the art of war and it is a fact that, they are masters in disguising an act of offence as that of defense. The Chinese cited the incursions as a direct consequence of the increase in the border capacities and infrastructure along the Indo – China border expecting India to take a conciliatory stance and acceding to their ‘quid pro quo’ demands of dismantling the said structures. It needs to be mentioned here the numerous Chinese border capacity enhancement programs, including the reconstruction of the Xingjian – Tibetan Highway which cuts across the highly controversial Aksai – Chin area in July 2012. Added to this were the persistent aerial and ground military exercises that China undertook in the Tibetan Autonomous Region in 2012. The reaction of India to the said flexing of muscles by the Chinese in an autonomous region was only of mere ‘concern’. China claims the state of Arunachal Pradesh as a part of their country (dubbed ‘South Tibet’ by the Chinese) and had even showed the atrocity of allocating Chinese visas to the people coming from the said state.

India definitely took a strong stand pertaining to the recent border encroachments issues by the Chinese, but the Indian message conveyed to the Chinese regarding the uncompromising attitude of our country about the border issues perhaps had not been spelt out strongly to China.

China on the other hand is diplomatically two faced and its international relations are governed by an effective use of speech technique with expedient implementation of intimidation and advocacy. China is very coherent and strong when it comes to countering encroachment issues within its territory. An example of this would be the strong disagreement of the Chinese to the joint India – Vietnam oil exploration program in the South China Sea, which is considered by China as a part of its territory. While China strongly berated India for indicating South China Sea as a global property, it also voiced its vehement opposition by expressing its zero tolerance towards any joint venture in Chinese maritime sectors. The joint venture was eventually abandoned in April 2012.

It therefore seems that, India needs to learn a trick or two from China when it comes to diplomatic negotiations and extracting the best possible results in such cases. However, it is to be kept in view that, the leaders of the two nations function under completely different circumstances. While power changes hand once in every 10 years in China the political scenario in India is quite different. So, a lesson in statecraft is also due for India from China.

The financial angle:

Presently China is enjoying an economic growth of 8% contrary to India’s 5%. China has a GDP of USD 8.3 trillion whereas India has a GDP of USD 2 trillion. While China has a CAD of below 3% of the GDP, India has a CAD of about 5% of the GDP. Inflation in India is recorded at 7.5% while China has an inflation of 2.6%. It is evident from the statistics that, when a widening CAD and inflation is pulling down India’s economic growth, China is doing significantly well economically, keeping the deterrent factors like CAD and inflation well under control.

However, the Chinese economy wasn’t as smooth sailing as it appears to be now, even a few years back. The economic crisis of 2008 has devastated Chinese economy with extremely high inflation and CAD. While China has a majorly export oriented economy, 659 anti – Chinese export measures had been imposed on China in 2008, by countries like Germany, France, UK, Spain, Italy and Russia. Through the implementation of prudent economic reforms, China had turned around in just about three year’s time. By 2011 Chinese exports were once again registering a growth of 14% and imports 5%. Most analysts are of the opinion that, higher investitures of China amounting to 48% of the GDP in contrast to India’s 36% of the GDP puts China in a financially much more stable position than India. Added to these are the Chinese zero tariff and free market policies in sectors like agriculture in the South East Asian countries. China has also made considerable investments in constructing international class roadways and ports to promote both domestic and foreign trade. Through smart economic collaborations and prudent investments, China had earned the financial edge that it presently has over India.

A recent OECD report predicted that by 2016, China will even overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world. Given the fact that, the economy of China is more or less four times that of India, it is evident that China has set enough precedents for India to learn from and become a financially superior country from what it is today.

Some miscellaneous angles:

Given below are some miscellaneous angles where China is ahead of India and our country can definitely take some lessons from China regarding the points mentioned below:

  • While India has become majorly dependent on external sources to meet its technological requirements, China had taken an assertive policy of emulating technologies also known as ‘reverse engineering’. So good the country has become in copying of technologies that big brands starting from Samsung in electronics to fashion footwear like Crocs outsource a major mass manufacturing to China. Low – cost technology and cheap labor charges make it possible. The international market is being flooded with cheap Chinese products which are effective and functional, and in today’s global technological battlefield, definitely gives China, a significant edge over India. Such precedents had been followed by many developed countries and it is advisable for India to follow such policies, which will further pave the way for enhanced domestic innovations.
  • China had been instrumental in developing both its ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills that is imperative for domestic vicissitude.
  • The Chinese leaders, who are essentially hardcore proponents of technocracy, have steadfastly emphasized and driven the technological advancements of the country. The Chinese Army, now a force to be reckoned with, is essentially a product of such endeavors.
  • China has framed strict guidelines to promote indigenous innovations, one point that India should immediately adopt.
  • China had been consistently restructuring its governance so as to achieve the best possible governance which will further bolster technological advancements.
  • China has consistently advocated reforms in its leadership of organization to effect changes like ascent from state to market based undertakings.
  • China is well aware of the fact that, for the proper existence of a high technology defense mechanism, it cannot be insulated from the civilian sectors. So China follows a policy of coalition between its economically solvent civilian sector and a tech – savvy defense sector. As per China’s 16 point policy, such integrations have proved to be immensely fruitful for the technological upgradation of its defense mechanism.
  • China had introduced numerous market based reforms in its scientific research and development sectors as well as its scientific institutions. Such actions have propagated a thoroughly market oriented indigenous innovations sector effectively contained within the realms of the government.
  • China is far ahead of India as far as educational reforms are concerned. Unlike India, China had addressed its illiteracy problems aggressively and had introduced proper reforms for the development of its educational infrastructure, in both quality and quantity.


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